Estonia woos Indian businesses with e-residency programme

Mar 9, 2018 0

New Delhi– The north European country of Estonia is wooing Indian businesses with its e-residency programmme which it says will give access to the European Union (EU) market.

“If you are establishing a company in Estonia, you are establishing a company in the EU,” Estonia’s Minister Entrepreneurship and IT Minister Urve Palo said during an interaction with the media here on Friday.

She said that although the e-residency does not grant citizenship, its holder can become virtual residents in her country.

Estonia is the first country in the world to offer e-residency — a government-issued digital ID available to anyone in the world.

It offers the freedom to every world citizen to open and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere.

E-residents have access to the EU business environment and can use public e-services through their digital identity.

Firms set up through e-residency are “trusted location-independent EU companies”, which allows them to be run remotely from anywhere in the world with low costs and minimal hassles, according to a statement issued during the media interaction.

“They have access to an advanced and secured digital infrastructure along with all the tools required to grow globally,” it stated.

“Indian entrepreneurs now can run their micro-businesses not only in India but grow them with access to the entire EU market. E-residency, therefore, stands for “Make in India and Sell in Europe!”

Palo said that ever since the e-residency programme was started in 2014, there are now 30,000 e-residents of Estonia from 154 countries.

“From India, we have 1,200 e-residents,” she said, adding that one only has to go to the Estonian Embassy here and give the biometrics to become an e-resident.

Applying for e-residency costs 100 euros and registering a company 190 euros.

According to the statement, Estonia is aiming to reach out to the booming Indian startup community through a series of road shows and industry tie-ups in the next 12 months with the target of enrolling over 200 startups during 2018.

During the course of her ongoing visit to India, Palo has met Minister of Law and and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar.

“The Indian government is interested in cooperating with us in cyber security and e-governance,” the Estonian minister said.

She said that during her meeting with Akbar, she discussed automatic recognition of Estonian diplomas in India.

There are around 300 Indian students in Estonia. (IANS)

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BSES gets $1 mn USTDA grant for energy conservation in Delhi

Mar 6, 2018 0

New Delhi– Delhi power distribution company (discom) BSES on Tuesday announced that it has won a $1 million grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to develop and deploy the country’s first Behavioural Energy Efficiency (BEE) programme in south and west Delhi.

Over 2 lakh customers in these areas of the capital under the jurisdiction of sister discom BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) will participate in the pilot project to be undertaken by the US software major Oracle America Inc, a BSES release said.

“Under the pioneering initiative, Oracle America Inc will carry out the pilot project covering 2 lakh customers in south and west Delhi using Oracle Utilities’ OPower customer engagement software,” it said.

“Starting from April 1, 2018, the duration of the BRPL BEE pilot will be 18 months but not later than December 31, 2019.”

Recognising BSES efforts in energy conservation, “USTDA has signed a grant of $1,021,896 supporting BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd to develop and deploy India’s first Behavioural Energy Efficiency (BEE) programme,” it added.

“The development of this BEE programme will demonstrate the ability to use software to empower consumers to reduce energy waste, improve energy efficiency, and lower peak-hour consumption in India,” a BSES spokesperson said.

“Widespread adoption of such Demand Side Management technologies can go a long way in reducing the demand-supply gap and reduce the need to buy or generate expensive power,” he added.

Using the proprietary software, Oracle OPower will research and study lifestyle and energy consumption habits in order to generate individual reports for each of the 2 lakh customers in the pilot project on how to create energy efficiency actions with corresponding savings, the statement said.

“Based on results in comparable markets, Home Energy Reports have the potential to save 1-2 per cent in BRPL’s peak power demand once the programme is rolled-out across the discom,” it said.

“Oracle Utilities’ OPower BEE programmes have been successfully deployed at over 100 utilities around the world and have cumulatively saved over seventeen terawatt-hours of energy,” it added.

Commenting on the development, USTDA Regional Director (South and Southeast Asia) Henry Steingass said in a statement: “We are proud to connect BRPL with Oracle Utilities on this first-in-market pilot with the potential for replication throughout India.” (IANS)

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India, Malta discuss ways to strengthen ties

Mar 6, 2018 0

New Delhi– India and Malta on Tuesday discussed ways to strengthen ties across various sectors during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela here.

According to a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry, the two leaders held discussions on various aspects of bilateral ties as well as important regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

“The discussions between the two Ministers focused on building closer cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, trade fairs, financial services, information technology and tourism,” it stated.

India and Malta share a rich common heritage in the context of Commonwealth and relations between the two countries have strengthened considerably in recent years with India reopening its resident mission in Malta last year. The nation in the central Mediterranean Sea is also home to a 400-strong Indian community.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that both India and Malta shared the common heritage of the Commonwealth.

Efforts are on to revive the relevance of this grouping of former British colonies and this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Britain next month.

“India was one of the first countries to recognise independence of Malta in 1964 and the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1965,” Kumar said.

India’s economic ties with Malta have grown stronger with annual bilateral trade reaching around $350 million last financial year.

“A new beginning has been made in recent years on the culture front, with an Indian film being shot in Malta and courses on Sanskrit grammar being held at University of Malta,” the External Affairs Ministry statement said.

During the course of his visit, the Maltese Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Minister participated in the fourth edition of the India-Europe 29 Business Forum (IE29BF) here on Monday.

The Forum was created for the first time in 2014 by the External Affairs Ministry and industry body Federation of Indian Chambers and Commerce (FICCI) to provide an institutionalised platform for promoting business exchanges between India and the 29 countries of the Central Europe region.

The theme of IE29BF 2018 was “Synergising Economic Vision for Expanded Relations”.

The focus sectors for the Forum were “Industry 4.0: Defining India-Europe 29 Cooperation through Developing Innovation Eco-system in Hi-Tech Manufacturing and Skilling & Transforming Human Capital in India”, “Promoting E-Governance through ICT and Inviting Europe 29 Expertise for Digitalisation of Healthcare Sector in India” and “Collaborating to Develop 100 Smart Cities in India: Innovative urban Transport Solutions and Clean Technologies to Define India-Europe 29 Future Partnership”.

This year, the Czech Republic was the focus country of the Forum. Eighteen other European countries participated in the event. It was attended by 180 business delegates and officials from European countries and 200 business delegates from India. (IANS)

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Manmohan, Sonia meet Vietnam President

Mar 5, 2018 0

New Delhi– Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday met Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang, who is on a three-day visit to India.

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma also accompanied Gandhi, a former Congress chief, and Singh.

Quang was on Saturday accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here in the presence of his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India and Vietnam on Saturday agreed to work for an independent, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region as the two sides signed three agreements, including one on enhancing bilateral economy and trade. (IANS)


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ONGC Videsh, OIL get nod to develop gas field in Mozambique

Mar 5, 2018 0

Mumbai– Energy majors ONGC Videsh — a subsidiary of ONGC, and Oil India (OIL) besides other participating firms on Monday received approval from the government of Mozambique for the development plan of Golfinho-Atum natural gas field in the southern African nation.

The Golfinho-Atum natural gas field is located in the Area-1 block of Rovuma offshore basin of Mozambique.

The plan outlines the integrated development of the Golfinho-Atum field through an initial two-train onshore liquefaction plant with a total processing capacity of 12.88 million metric tonnes per annum, both the energy majors said in their regulatory filings to the BSE.

ONGC Videsh holds 16 per cent stake in the block, while OIL has 4 per cent, they said. (IANS)


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Mizoram to get first regional agricultural centre with Israeli collaboration

Feb 21, 2018 0

Guwahati– A regional centre for agriculture set up with Israeli collaboration will be inaugurated in Mizoram — the first of its kind in the northeast region — on March 7.

The centre has been set up to exclusively process citrus fruits.

Israel will provide the expertise and professional support to run the centre, which will cater to the entire northeast, Israel Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said during a meeting with Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh.

An official statement said that the project was a result of the collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and the governments of Israel and Mizoram.

There are 22 such centres operational in India, including in Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. The first such centre was established in 2008 in Haryana.

Carmon said that Israel wants to establish one centre in each of the remaining states in India in the future.

The Ministry for the Development of North Eastern Region will coordinate wherever required.

“It will benefit the farmers of northeastern region in the long run. It will also serve as a model of learning for other countries in the Indian subcontinent,” Singh added. (IANS)

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India contributes $1 mn for Tonga devastated by Cyclone Gita: UN

Feb 21, 2018 0

By Arul Louis

United Nations– India in contributing $1 million for relief efforts in the Pacific Ocean Kingdom of Tonga that was devastated by Cyclone Gita last week, according to the UN.

Of that $500,000 would be given as immediate relief to Tonga and another $500,000 would be allocated to it from the India-UN Development Partnership Fund (I-UNDPF), the UN Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) announced Monday.

“Following the assessment of the damages caused and priorities needing support, the Government of Tonga will identify the rehabilitation projects to be supported through the I-UNDPF,” UNOSSC said.

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the Category 4 cyclone was the worst on record to hit Tonga.

Cyclones of that intensity can have gusts between 225 and 279 kilometres per hour.

The nation’s parliament was destroyed by the storm, which caused extensive damage across the archipelago.

The International Red Cross said that according to initial assessments about 70 per cent of Tonga’s population are affected. Tongatapu, where the capital of the country’s capital NukuEalofa is situated, is among the worst hit areas, it said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a message of sympathy to Tonga’s Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva, according to a press release from the Suva, Fiji-based Indian High Commission that also covers Tonga.

“India stands in solidarity with the friendly people of the Kingdom of Tonga in this difficult hour of adversity,” Modi said in his message offering the $1 million aid, according to a High Commission press release on Twitter.

The first project under the I-UNDPF is a Climate Early Warning Systems in Pacific Island Countries including the Cook Islands, which covers Tonga and other island nations in the region, UNOSSC said.

“The project aims to increase resilience from natural disasters of these seven Pacific island countries and contribute toward the Sustainable Development Goal of Climate Action,” it added. (IANS)

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Dyson launches in India, opens first demo store

Feb 15, 2018 0

New Delhi– Global technology company Dyson on Thursday said it has launched its latest products, including cord-free vacuum cleaners, hairdryers and its range of intelligent air purifiers, in India at its first demo store here.

The company, which is also the developer of high-performance machines, said it will invest over Rs 1,200 crore in India over the next five years and will expand at a fast pace opening a total of 20 stores in the country.

“We are launching a range of products using our patented technology which we believe will bring meaningful benefits,” said Jake Dyson, Chief Engineer and member of the Dyson Board.

Headquartered in Britain’s Malmesbury, the James Dyson-founded company holds 7,500 patents worldwide and is focused on combining hardware, software and algorithms to make intelligent machines. (IANS)

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India reassures aid for Iraq rebuilding process

Feb 14, 2018 0

New Delhi– India on Wednesday assured its commitment to help war-torn Iraq in its rebuilding process while complimenting the nation for its victory over the Islamic State (IS) terror outfit.

“India responded to the need for humanitarian assistance even while the war was at its peak in Iraq: among other things, in August 2016, we proposed to reconstruct the hospital in Karbala,” Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said while speaking at the International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq in Kuwait.

“India responded to the urgent needs of Iraq for relief and economic reconstruction both directly and as part of international efforts under UN auspices,” Akbar said, adding that on the UN Secretary General’s urgent appeal, India contributed $20 million for assistance to the Iraqi people.

He said that under this pledge, India provided milk food supplies through World Food Programme, and along with it, provided assistance to Iraqi school children and Iraqi refugees in Syria. It also trained Iraqi Foreign Service officers in diplomacy, and other Iraqi officials in information technology.

“In addition, India contributed $10 million towards the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq for investments, reconstruction and development in Iraq.”

Akbar said that the conference offered an opportunity for the world to congratulate the people and government of Iraq for their historic victory over a “vicious contemporary menace” of IS, and its allies, “who used a volatile fusion of false ideology and barbaric terrorism to become a regional epicentre of upheaval and violence against innocent civilians and legitimate government”.

“We must win both the battle and the argument,” he said, adding the answer to terrorism lies in security, prosperity and reaffirmation of sovereignty and “the three sustain each other; any indifference or complacency towards any side of this triangle will make the rehabilitation process infructuous”.

On behalf of India, Akbar also also complimented all those nations which, directly or indirectly, came together to defeat the regressive and extremist forces that spread their tentacles far beyond Iraq.

Terming terrorism, fundamentalism and extremism the scourge of the 21st century, he said: “We must be united in our defence of pluralism and civilisation without ifs and buts. There is no ‘good terrorism’ or ‘bad terrorism’: all terror is an unmitigated evil. India has always supported a free, democratic, pluralistic, federal and unified Iraq.”

Akbar also appealed to the international community for early adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.

He said India continued to assist Iraq in capacity building through training of Iraqi officials under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme and to broadbase services, also established a Consulate General office in Erbil.

Welcoming Baghdad’s announcement that it was now open for investment, he said India would play its part with project-specific proposals.

“We support the important role assigned to private sector investors in rebuilding of the terrorist-affected areas in Iraq,” Akbar said, adding India was willing to play a substantive role in major projects in petrochemicals, health, education, infrastructure and other sectors. (IANS)

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IBM eyeing BFSI, telecom sector for growth in India

Feb 14, 2018 0

By Krishna SinhaChaudhury

Mumbai– When it comes to digital transformation, sectors like the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), and telecom, will become the growth engines for India and IBM is ready to meet the technology requirements, a top company executive has said.

“The biggest growth for us is going to come from the financial services. We are going to consolidate telco and look at new revenue streams because telco is an industry that is turning on its head. There’s going to be a lot of conversations around integrated telcos which is getting into network domains,” Lula Mohanty, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services, told IANS in an interview.

IBM organised a two-day “The THINK Forum” here on February 12-13 attended by senior IBM and key business leaders from across the country who discussed the future of business and technologies that will shape the economy and society.

“The third vertical which we are very interested in is what’s going on in the domain of the retail industry in terms of Internet of Things (IoT) platforms as a service on products,” she noted.

When it comes to skilling and preparing a workforce for New-Age technologies like Artificial Intellignece (AI), robotics, Big Data and IoT, IBM is working with some of the state governments via skill development centres.

“We are also in talks with NITI Aayog and other learning and development organisations to understand what is the platform that we can put in place to skill more people,” Mohanty told IANS.

IBM recently announced a collaboration with the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) to spur emerging technology skills in the domestic telecom industry.

IBM’s student developers’ programme (career education) that infuses software capabilities that are industry-specific and market-relevant has helped more than 24,000 students and faculty members develop industry-relevant software capabilities.

Present in India since 1951, IBM India has expanded its operations with regional headquarters in Bengaluru and offices across 20 cities.

With the aim to help Indian enterprises deliver next-generation consumer experiences, global consulting agency Bluewolf, an IBM company, also announced a new practice in the country with “Salesforce”, a global leader in the customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

The dedicated practice will leverage Bluewolf’s expertise and delivery capabilities in Augmented Reality (AR) and innovation strategy — combined with IBM’s leadership in cognitive and design-thinking with “Watson” — to help clients connect customer experience to value.

IBM currently manages 100-200 customers for the Salesforce practice in the country and expects the number to grow significantly in the coming years as enterprises and government agencies begin riding on digital transformation initiatives.

“India is one of the highest-growth markets for Salesforce,” said Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India.

“We will continue to double our investments in the country. We welcomed our 1,000th employee in India in November last year. We will hire 1,000 more employees in Hyderabad alone by 2020,” Jose told IANS.

“We already have a strong base in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. India is the market that is continuously growing for us,” Jose added.

Highlighting the strategy for the country, he said: “To drive business value, success and growth for its customers, Salesforce will focus on customer-centric digital transformation.”

The customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider also has a “Centre of Excellence” in Hyderabad, which is its first major centre in India. (IANS)

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